Easy and Delicious Indian Gulab Jamun

Plate of delicious Indian Gulab Jamun

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1116 Calories
54g Fat
145g Carbs
18g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 1116
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 54g 69%
Saturated Fat 20g 101%
Cholesterol 96mg 32%
Sodium 345mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 145g 53%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 120g
Protein 18g
Vitamin C 3mg 13%
Calcium 562mg 43%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 711mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Gulab jamun (or gulaab jamun) is among India's most popular desserts and is often referred to as "Indian doughnuts." This delicious treat consists of soft, melt-in-your-mouth, fried dumplings that are traditionally made of thickened or reduced milk and then soaked in a sugar syrup made with rose water (which you can buy or make). This recipe uses powdered milk and heavy cream, but the results are just as delicious.

The name comes from two words. Gulab means "rose" and refers to the rose syrup. Jamun is a kind of deep purple-colored Indian berry, which the dark brown dumplings resemble after they're cooked. The rose-flavored syrup lends the dessert a beautiful fragrance and makes it feel decadent and very special. Gulab jamun can be served warm or at room temperature and with a variety of extras to make the dessert even more exceptional, such as chopped pistachios. Best of all, it's relatively easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water

  • 3 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon cardamom powder

  • 2 tablespoons rose water

  • 3 cups powdered milk

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 cup heavy cream, or double cream, thickened

  • Vegetable, canola, or sunflower oil, for frying

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for gulab jamin

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a deep pan, mix the water and sugar and boil until all the sugar is dissolved.

    Sugar and water mixture boiling in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Turn off the heat and add the ground cardamom and rose water. Mix well and set aside.

    cardamom powder and rose water mixed with the sugar and water mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. In a large bowl, mix well the powdered milk, flour, and baking powder.

    Powdered milk, flour, and baking powder in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. A little at a time, add some of the heavy cream while kneading. You want to make a dough that is medium-soft but not sticky. You do not need to use all the cream, just enough to reach the desired consistency; the smoother it is, the better, and the less likely the dough will become hard when it's fried.

    Dough for gulab jamun in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Lightly grease the palms of your hands.

    Hands greased with oil

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Once the dough is ready, divide it into walnut-sized balls, rolling it between your palms until nice and smooth.

    Gulab jamun dough rolled into small balls

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. While you are making the balls, heat the oil in a wide pan on low to medium heat. Use enough oil so the doughnuts will be submerged.

    Skillet with oil

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  9. Carefully add the gulab jamun and fry, stirring often to brown on all sides.

    Gulab jamun frying in a pan with oil

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  10. Once cooked, remove the doughnuts with a slotted spoon, allowing the oil to drain.

    Gulab jamun removed from the pan with oil, with a slotted spoon

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  11. Transfer immediately into the rose syrup.

    Gulab jamun in rose syrup

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  12. Repeat this until all the dumplings are cooked and in the syrup. Allow the gulab jamun to soak in the syrup for at least 2 hours before serving. 

    Indian gulab jamun soaking in rose syrup

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Why Does Gulab Jamun Dissolve When Frying?

There are two possible reasons. Either the oil is not hot enough, or the dough is too dry. Make sure the oil is 360 to 375 F. You may find it helpful to cover the dough as you're rolling it if you're finding it takes a long time; this will also help protect it from drying out.

Variations

There are many ways that you can enjoy gulab jamun. They are delicious drained of the syrup as well as served in the syrup; it's also common to roll them in desiccated coconut.

Warm gulab jamuns are also fantastic when topped with ice cream or a thick cream. You can also garnish the doughnuts with shavings of pistachio and a sprinkling of almonds if you wish, or even fresh rose petals.

Tips

  • Any cracks that show up when rolling the dough into balls get worse later and could lead to the doughnuts cracking as they are fried. This is not desirable, so take all the time you need to make sure the balls of dough are very smooth.
  • Do not cook the gulab jamun over very high heat (over 375 F), as the dumplings will burn on the outside and remain raw inside.

How to Store and Freeze Gulab Jamun

You can keep these at room temperature for several days and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks; you can reheat them in the microwave quickly. Gulab jamun can be frozen, too, for up to 3 months.